En garde, Martijn, and everyone who dares showing his dessert!
blogentry about the closed development process of Xgl made me reflect on the whole development
process of XFree86 and Xorg during the last years. The result of that is that people might say
“Well, if that brings me a working OpenGL-based X server any sooner, I’m all in for it”,
but sadly, those people miss the whole point. It’s not like removing external developers from the
developing process and closing your doors is going to make Xgl development any faster. Quite the
opposite. (For those not in the know, Xgl is an X server that uses OpenGL for rendering graphics.
Rendering graphics via OpenGL is much faster and allows for nice
Funny detail, tonight, a double release of Xorg is planned. A traditional, monolithic
release, numbered 6.9 will be made available to us mere users, and another one, a modular tree with
the magic version number 7.0 (read: seven-point-oh). The modular will further enhance the
development process of Xorg, in the future, release cycles will be much more flexible. Those two
releases are the result of hard work during the last year, and have only been possible because
development of XFree86 has opened up in a fork, the Xorg. Yes, read again: Opened up. An open
development process is a good thing. The most popular free (and open) implementation of the
X11 protocol would never have happened if the small team of developers hadn’t been broken
open, resulting in more developers contributing to the project and X finally receiving the love it
had longly needed. Development of XFree86 and Xorg has never before happend at such a fast pace. X
on free operating systems has always been slow and dodgy, no fun at all. The last months especially
show progress (e.g. EXA).
The screenshot shows using recently added features of composite managers that make
translucent windows possible. In the screenshot, I’ve setup my desktop to make inactive windows
translucent, so that the focus is automatically attracted to the active window. The settings are
overdone to make the effect more clear. As soon as you move the window, it becomes translucent.
Newly opened windows fade in smoothly, it’s a pretty slick thing — and this is just the beginning
of what’s becoming possible on with the new X servers on the horizon.
By the way, if you’re not
comfortable with X terminology, here’s
a good read on the status of Linux graphics.
So stop smoking crack and Open up!
I’ve finished the sizeview widget of guidance‘s mountconfig this week. You can now
doubleclick on a harddisk in mountconfig, and a dialog will be opened that shows the physical layout
of the disk and the different partitions on it, presented as a bar graph showing how much free space
Also, preparations of the KDE Multimedia Meeting in the Netherlands in late spring have
started, I’ve put up a wikipage
with the preliminary planning. Please let me know if you can help to make the Multimedia Meeting
a succes (send an email to sebas(a)kde(dot)nl).
Adriaan and me have begun preparing attendance of FOSDEM
2006 of the KDE crowd. That means a residence will have to be reserved, transport of people has
to be coordinated, a schedule for the devroom needs to be prepared (also, it would be nice to have
interesting talks there, of course, again email sebas(a)kde(dot)nl if you’re interested in giving a
talk). People that want to attend FOSDEM2006 along with the KDE crowd should subscribe to
firstname.lastname@example.org and reply to my email from
Monday. Having a bunch of KDE people there would truely rock!
Adriaan and me have visited the Holland Open
networking meeting tonight, which was quite a success. We’re trying to put a foot into the door
(does that parse?) in this young dutch organisation which tries to become a roof organisation for
Open Source and Open Standards in the Netherlands, representing business as well as Open Source
organisations. We talked to quite a lot of people, and introduced ourselves as possible
representatives of the “Linux Desktop”. Unfortunately, no Gnome people showed up, but it
might still be nice to show at least one of the possible choices for a desktop. I got the impression
that KDE is more than welcome to attend the next conference as a first-class citizen, and that we
could play an important role in pushing Open Source technology in the Netherlands.
We (KDE-NL) have been quite busy visiting events over the last weeks, and it begins to pay
off, we’re being recognized as KDE people.
On Thursday, I visited the OSOSS
symposium Open Doen in Nieuwegein in the Netherlands. It was targeted at
(semi-)governmental organisation, informing about deployment of Open Source and open standards. A
couple of migration pilots were discussed, amongst others. What really stroke me was the way they
handled those. Let’s say you have a Windows environment, servers running NT4 still, maybe already
Win2k, desktops mainly win2000, that means mail is done with Exchange, authentication via Active
Directory. You want to use more Open Source software in your organisation. One of the approaches to
migrating to an “Open Source desktop” had as a requirements “No changes to the backend, we’re doing
only desktops”. This requirement is quite a strange one. The first thing you should do is migrating
your email to Open Source technology, then deploying LDAP and switching all those funny backend
solutions. Your users won’t really notice, and the switching of those services will have little
affect on the productivity of your organisation. In fact, it will probably be quite easy.
no, let’s try to use Open Source software but authenticate with AD, connect your email client to
Exchange – causes you headache for sure. I was under the impression that those migration pilots are
not quite whole-hearted, which is a pity, since evaluating the Open Source desktop is not something
you will do every year. Once you get a bad impression (which is actually caused by protocols not
being open) OSS won’t get another chance for some years. If you do it, do it right at first.
First convert your communication protocols to something open to create equal chances, then have a
look at what does perform well and what doesn’t, then choose the best solution.
Harvard’s Jeffrey A. Kaplan presented the “Roadmap for Open ICT ecosystems” which
put the whole thing in a much broader context. A good read for decisionmakers.
Third interesting thing is that Maturity Models seem to be gaining more supporters, the term
could’ve been heard in about half of the presentations I attended. I’m interested in those maturity
models since I’m doing research on quality metrics for Open Source software (solutions).
Yesterday night, I found the time to finally fix a usability bug on my website, a far too
long “photo” menu which just dropped out of the bottom of everybody’s browser window. Hint: Do not
create menu entries automatically. Well, now I have categories of photo galleries, which should be reasonably easy to
handle for the next time. Also my wallpaper section
has gotten a major cleanup, now listing wallpapers in a nicer way than just Apache’s standard
So I found the time to finish the PyQt tutorial I’ve been writing at aKademy2005 in Malage, at
least to a degree that I think it might be useful for some people. It should be an easy read for
anyone having a little programming experience, especially for those that wanted to look at PyQt for
some time already, just enough to get you running. And I know you people are out there!
Have a look at http://vizZzion.org/?id=pyqt and let
me know what’s wrong, and what you’re missing (patches welcome). I might find the time again to fix
The Marketing Working Group is progressing quite well, and it has been received well by the
community it seems – judging by the number of requests we’re getting. Putting infrastructure in
place and creating a list of TODOs have been two of the issues that we’ve been working on. In the
meantime, we’re reading “This is a job for the Marketing Working Group” nearly every day.
I’m happy with people recognizing the Marketing Working Group and knowing at least one possible
place to go to with all kinds of issues. Sadly, “Marketing Working Group” does not mean that there’s
suddenly a 1000 monkeys doing all kinds of promo work. This will be the major focus of the Marketing
Working Group: Building a community that is able to do more work than what’s possible at the moment,
backing that work up with coordination and structuring it. Helicopter view, maybe. At this moment,
the most important thing is getting spreadkde in shape,
having a decent taskmanagement set up to
be able to route work to volunteers.
In the background, work on market segmentation has started off. Getting to know who you’re
targeting with KDE as a product is a requirement to be able to do meaningful work.
Ah, and business cards. Can of worms freakin’ business cards. Most current status of that is
that we’re trying to get hold of the designer who’ll be working on it, defining a roadmap and
getting him to start working really soon now.
And then there’s documentation, we all love it (translates to everybody needs it, only a handful
of people actually write it). Documentation in the case of the marketing team means writing a
handbook of best practice guides, conserving knowledge, making it easier to compensate contributors
shifting away from KDE and putting new volunteers in their place. To improve our practises, we need
to care that the knowledge gets preserved for KDE. Examples are a release promotion guide, a guide
that lists important things and has checklists for visiting fairs and events, simple practical
things as well as structural and strategic measures to improve current performance and make
volunteer’s efforts more efficient.
While we’re at it, any webdevelopers or graphics designers around who’d like to help out? :-)